Avoidant Vs. Schizoid Personality Disorder

A commenter who I will call MWD wrote this. He actually wrote his whole name in the comments, but I am not going to use it here as I am not sure he wants me to use his name in a post so I will just refer to him with his initials. He wrote this on the Schizoid Personality Disorder post and he wants to know whether he has it or not. His is an interesting case.

MWD writes:

Could you judge me? I’m told that I was quiet, too quiet when I was a baby. At childhood my guardians, which include immediate and extended family, gave me enough attention (I can see myself smiling from old photos, strange I remember close to nothing about any of those stiff moments except one where I was comically having a dump, that was embarrassing), but I can’t remember much of the time due to being hospitalized a lot for lung problems. I remember when my grandfather died and myself not feeling anything, despite having been close to him and done lots of fun activities like exploring farms earlier in my childhood.

I remember in the last year of primary school some girl with her friend told me she liked me, I just froze, couldn’t say anything back because I wasn’t used to things like crushes. They probably were just joking around, but my complete non-response must must’ve made me a jerk in their eyes. I made no attempt to explain myself, and to be fair, they never asked.

Come puberty I didn’t develop much, resulting in me being socially ostracized and made fun of. I didn’t take it very well, and it made me oversensitive to insults, and now the slightest hints of hostility against me are thoroughly scrutinized in my head. Hidden in privacy, my eyes would tear out of frustration, anger, fear and anxiety and lash out against the wall or anything I could break, including my knuckle. That time I learned that people can beyond cruel. My childhood friends too dropped me for visibly no reason, so that adds to my misery at the time.

I did poorly in school, and in college I couldn’t manage to study properly, as my anxiety, fear and feelings of desperation and wanting to escape and hide were stronger than my need for accomplishment. Around 10 yrs ago, I noticed myself mentally slow. I have a feeling where I was floating, which isn’t new, as even in childhood I used to feel like I was just floating around, but this time I was more non-present. My head was almost entirely wrapped in paranoia and made me lose some sense of reality.

One time I decided to run away from home and seek death in a dangerous place I could find. I don’t remember much how it happened. Suddenly I found myself at the back of my aunt’s car. I was living with her and my cousins at the time. I dropped out thrice from college and hid away at the confines of my parent’s house. That was the only time I considered suicide, since then, my thoughts shifted from suicidal to homicidal without actually acting upon those urges. But I would fantasize about and sometimes verbally discuss it.

8yrs later, and still no life, but some things have changed. Insults no longer made me as sad like before, I expect, and it no longer surprise me. I shift from being amused about my pessimistic prophecies and the tiredness and annoyance of being subjected to the same shit all over again. Sometimes I hide because I’m sick of it, no longer due to fear. I lost the ability to make friends, as I no longer tolerate other people’s quirks (like they don’t mine, so receive and give is the rule here). I switched the word friend to acquaintance, as it makes more sense. I have developed a snarky attitude as if a right, and people don’t like it.

Wow, this is long enough, reading it I think I display more avoidant traits from what is written above. Thing is as a student all I wanted was to be left alone and progress and study in peace, not subjected to social torture and snide insults like I experienced. Living in an oversexed and densely populated location, this is almost impossible for a non-attractive guy. I could’ve done better, but help was not available for me at the time. Not even my parents understand my condition. I could’ve done better, instead I just wasted school funds thrice.

I am not an expert on personality disorders and I am not allowed to give legal DSM diagnoses anyway. Further, one is not supposed to diagnose over the Internet.

Nevertheless, looking at everything he has written here, this looks more like Avoidant Personality Disorder than Schizoid Personality Disorder. I have read a lot of case histories of both, and they can be hard to tell apart at times. Avoidant Personality in particular is hard to diagnose because it is sometimes hard to tell if the person wants to be around others or not. This is important, as the main differential diagnosis between SPD and APD is that SPD’s have no desire at all to be around others and APD’s do.

However, the APD desire to be around others is often masked and hard to figure out. Also, APD looks more like extreme shyness. They avoid others because they get very nervous around other people, worry about saying the wrong thing and especially worry about getting criticized or made fun of.

SPD’s on the other hand avoid humans because they are pretty much indifferent to them and also because they find them draining. They are also rather indifferent to criticism or even praise for that matter. They simply have no use for other humans, and are often perfectly happy to live this way.

I would also urge this man to get some help. He lives in the Philippines, so I am not sure what help is available or how good it is, but the way he is living his life is making him very happy, and it isn’t very adaptive either.

4 Comments

Filed under Mental Illness, Personality Disorders, Psychology, Psychopathology

4 responses to “Avoidant Vs. Schizoid Personality Disorder

  1. Ultra Cool

    Perhaps he has features of both avoidant and schizoid, like not wanting to be with people yet anxious anyway, or wanting to be with people but only in a specific way and uninterested if that is not possible.

  2. TRASH

    Avoidance/cowardice overlaps with common sense in many cases: why “engage” with every idiot who calls you a name on the street or has a different opinion than yours if it does not have an intrinsic reward.

    Most successful people are indifferent to other human beings to a degree. They see a task, a goal, a benefit.

    No matter how much you please or displease others you will have little to show materially for it one way or the other unless you intend to become the dictator of a country.

    Running around your entire life caring what other people think is not going to increase your material gain.

  3. It may not be a simple AvPD vs SPD. Little doses of real and imagined hostility is one thing, but where I live you just can’t be away from a crowd if in the functioning world. I’m almost certain everyone is out there plotting something humiliating or destructive for self-gain/entertainment, and to me fighting everyone/maybe degrading voices in my head for the rest of my life is too much.

    Before my thinking got corrupted I was always a quiet one, a classic introvert, maybe more. I was always the least reactive when grouped with other kids/students. They even complain that I’m not being a team player for I look like daydreaming/not there. I was fine being alone and people accused me of “gay” for having low desire for competition, the guys are always trying impress everyone and I don’t, I am stuck in my own world. I think this could be schizoid traits but maybe I’m wrong?

    Not being tall is impossible for me to just tower over people and ignore their petty attempts for dominance. Where I stand are actually intimidating no matter how they look and everyone is a threat. Is it possible I’m just schizoid personality with Paranoid disorder that uses AvPD traits as coping/defence mechanism?

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